Friday, February 6, 2009

Author Responsibility

I belong to RWCList, it's a yahoo group for romance writers. It's an extremely helpful list. Sometimes the topics can end up on the controversial side and it becomes a heated debate. But that's the great thing about America, we can debate until we are blue in the face if we wish too. But in the end we all still get along as much as we can and help each other out when needed. The conversation this week has been about the use of CONDOMS in a romance novel. I haven't responded to any of the debates yet. Honestly, at first I wasn't sure what I thought about the use of condoms. I mean it's a responsible thing to do in your life to keep from getting an STD or having an unwanted pregnancy. But in a romance novel? Do we really want to add that ick factor of after the lovemaking session. As Monica Burns pointed out on the loop and at her blog after sex the condom has to come off. I know I have read many books where a condom wasn't mentioned and I have read many books were a condom was mentioned. I'll admit I have never read a love scene and thought "why didn't the author mention the use of a condom?", and I have never read a love scene and thought "why did they mention a condom?"!!! I have read two of Nora Roberts books I can think of off the top of my head Montana Sky and High Noon. In Montana Sky the hero, Ben loves the heroine, Willa and he wants to take care of her. In his mind he has been with many woman and this is Willa's first time. He doesn't want to do anything to harm her. So, he's taking care of her. In High Noon, the hero and heroine have sex and no condom is used, but afterwards the heroine points out that next time they have to be careful. I think this is on her mind because she is a single parent. She has a daughter and although the daughter's father is alive, he's barely in the picture. I don't think she wants to take the chance of having another child with a man who won't help take care of the baby. If the book calls for it then it should be used, but if not then no. We do want to escape when we read a romance novel. Yet we want it realistic as well. If it's too unbelievable, we can't lose ourselves. What do you think as a writer? Do you include condoms in your love scenes? What do you think as a reader? Do you like to read a story that uses condoms? Or would you rather a condom not be mentioned? Tonya XOXO


  1. I agree, ick!!! I don't want the use of condoms as I read...I don't write, and if I did I probably wouldn't mention the word CONDOM! I just want the story to flow nicely and for it to be a complete fantasy...isn't that what romances are?

  2. I also read Nora Roberts Montana Sky, after they made love, it never mentioned him taking the condom off. A scene like that would be okay. As a romance writer myself, I think it's important to practice safe sex. If the scene calls for a condom, great. If not then don't mention it. I think a condom was used in the a book by Elizabeth Lowell, Amber Beach. After they make love Elizabeth used a scene break and it was after the fact. No mention of the condom coming off, so I think cases like that are okay, you don't have to come out and say the hero disposes of the condom, use a scene break, and skip to after they make love.

  3. I have never read a book where a condom was mentioned. I just think it would ruin the story for me. There would always be that gross factor at the back of my mind. I imagine when I I'm sure a lot of readers do, sometimes I find myself adding stuff into the storyline. So if a condom was used, but skipped to another scene afterward, in my mind the hero would still have to remove the condom.

    But practicing and teaching safe sex is importnat! I'm a teacher and too many of my students end up pregnant or with an STD. If they were to get there hands on a romance novel, I would want them to see the characters using safe sex techniques as well.

    So, as most of you, I am conflicted!

  4. Thanks for quoting my blog Tonya, but you forgot to mention condoms and oral sex in the same sentence. LOL

    It's a preference thing, but as a fellow author pointed out, sometimes a writer doesn't have the option to avoid the usage because their editor might demand it. I'd hated to have to do battle for it with an editor, because if I lost, I know I wouldn't be able to write a good condom scene if I tried.

    There's just NOTHING sexy about a guy rolling on rubber. And I know, because in my time travel that still resides under the bed, I did have the hero use a condom. And it was a stupid moment in the sex scene. It was critical to the story, but it just didn't work well.

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  6. LOL..Sorry Monica, in my mind as I was writing my post I mentioned oral sex and condom. But you are right. I don't find it sexy either. I've read stories where it has been used, but it took away from the scene.

    As Holli mentioned, a scene break, even if the hero wears a condom and then you go to a scene break, the thought is still there. In my mind the hero still wore a condom, which means he would still have to take the condom off wether the author mentions it or not.